Tuesday, April 5, 2016

USA: Political Winds Blowing Against Extension of the ITC

Renewable tax fight resurrected in aviation bill debate (Environment & Energy Publishing)

U.S. Capitol (Courtesy Wikipedia Commons)
Senate Democrats are pushing to extend a key renewable tax break for a number of power sources in legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that is slated to receive a vote later this week.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday filed cloture on a House-passed tax measure, H.R. 636, that will be the vehicle for the FAA bill, with the procedural vote expected tomorrow.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member on the Finance Committee, said yesterday that discussions continue on including an extension of the investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying energy sources, including combined heat and power systems, geothermal, small wind and fuel cells, that were left out of the end-of-year omnibus spending and tax package enacted in December.

That package extended the ITC for solar for five years but, due to what Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called a mistake, did not extend to other sources.

The political winds are already blowing against an extension of the ITC. A coalition of conservative groups opposed to renewable tax credits last night sent a letter to senators urging them to oppose adding the omitted extensions to the FAA measure.

"The $1.4 billion in expiring tax provisions currently under consideration -- pertaining to wind power, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cell facilities and combined heat and power (CHP) properties -- are a distortion of the tax laws for special interests in the renewable energy industry and were wisely left out of this package," wrote the coalition of 34 groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Partners and Heritage Action for America.